SDG 5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Browse books and journal articles relating to this SDG below and find out more on the UN Sustainable Development Goals website.
This chapter examines the nature and scope of caregiving practices within families to better understand how families can be constructed during maternal imprisonment. It discusses three distinct characteristics that were observed within families. First, the joint interviews and caregivers' descriptions show the meaning, nature, and value of collective caregiving practices within the families, facilitating nuanced insights into the families' shared responses to the mothers' imprisonments. Second, the findings indicate that during a mother's imprisonment, it is maternal kin who take on caregiving responsibilities. Third, one explanation for female relatives assuming the bulk of care may be the smaller uptake of care from the children's fathers. The chapter then considers the positionality of the children's fathers, as well as father–children relationships, from the perspectives of caregivers.
This chapter highlights the key findings from the study and proposes some recommendations. Throughout this book, the lived experiences of relatives and friends (caregiving kin) looking after the children of female prisoners have been examined. Their honest accounts of their everyday lives during maternal imprisonment have contributed new insights which the chapter reviews. Importantly, listening to caregivers has developed a conceptual understanding of the ways in which the ‘family sentence’ is served from a ‘disenfranchised social status’. Ultimately, it is crucial to incorporate the perspectives of caregivers into policy and practice in order to facilitate a greater inclusion and response to the challenges they experience.
This chapter provides an overview of maternal imprisonment. The prison population in England and Wales is twice as large as it was in 1993. On any one day, just under 4,000 women are detained in prisons serving England and Wales; meanwhile, 8,000 women entered prison in 2017. When applying a family-centred lens to analyse these trends, a critical concern is the significant repercussions that this brings to the whole family because as the female prisoner population grows, so does the number of children separated from their mothers requiring replacement caregivers. However, being in prison does not remove a mother's willingness to continue mothering or automatically strip her of her legal parental responsibility in England and Wales. Instead, it is by virtue of the detainment that being imprisoned significantly alters, if not compromises, many of the roles and practices that a mother had previously undertaken. Most notably, this includes the daily care of children. The chapter then looks at the reallocation of caregiving following maternal imprisonment.
Exploring the untold experiences of family members and friends caring for the children of female prisoners in England and Wales, this book sheds light on the collateral damage that incarceration causes those who take over caregiving responsibilities for the children of female prisoners.
Providing new qualitative research on the lived experiences of caregiving relatives, alongside theoretically informed and policy-relevant insights, Booth shows the difficult and damaging consequences of the ‘family sentence’ they serve. Exploring the stigma, scarce statutory support and policy neglect they face, she offers much-needed evidence to encourage the development of a more inclusive, understanding and family-oriented justice system.
This chapter offers insights on how caregiving kin can maintain relationships during maternal imprisonment. These insights are especially pertinent in light of the current political and policy climate, which has advocated support for prisoners' family ties. Yet, contact with a person in prison is restricted and mediated by criminal justice policies and processes. The chapter then focuses on the caregivers' experiences of navigating the criminal justice system (CJS) as they followed the mother through court and into prison. There are four main sections: caregivers' experiences of court processes; caregivers' opportunities for re-establishing contact with the mother on the telephone and face to face in the first days and weeks of her sentence; caregivers' perceptions of maintaining contact with the mother; and caregivers' understandings and perceptions of Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) when a child in their family was housed in prison or awaiting confirmation of a place.
This chapter provides some brief reflections on the realities of conducting research with the caregiving kin. While this openness enhances the ‘credibility’ of the qualitative research, it can also help future researchers learn about the complexities and messiness of fieldwork. The chapter then discusses the practical challenges of recruiting participants, the ethical issues of managing implicit withdrawal, and a more personal reflection about how the researcher considers their own identity to have shaped the data collected. Ultimately, what is most important is that the fieldwork produced original, rich, in-depth data that are grounded in the lives and experiences of the family members, and informed by their accounts of maternal imprisonment. It is one of very few studies that has engaged directly with relatives looking after children whose mothers are serving a custodial sentence in England, producing insights that detail the ‘family sentence’ that they serve from a ‘disenfranchised’ social position.
This chapter reveals how caregivers responded to the mother's imprisonment both in the short and long term. The focus is directed more towards the primary kin caregivers as the ones assuming the bulk of the childcare responsibilities. The literature provides some insights into the disruption that looking after the children can have for caregivers, but the chapter takes a chronological examination to help better understand the process of assuming care. While doing so, it is important to remember that in 14 families, an added layer of uncertainty and confusion occurred because it was their first time navigating maternal imprisonment. The chapter studies renegotiations at three stages: caregivers' reactions to the news of the imprisonment and especially how the mother's sentence was unexpected; the initial response to the mother's imprisonment; and the longer-term renegotiations, focusing on the diverse and complex adjustments made to their roles, identities, practices, work commitments, and finances in order to provide care to the children on a more permanent basis.
This chapter outlines the methodology used in this book, including the theoretical framework and methods selected. The aim of the research presented throughout this book was to explore how maternal imprisonment was experienced from a family-centred perspective. The intention was to provide an in-depth analysis of the experiences and perceptions of relatives looking after children whose mothers were in prison. To explain how this was achieved, the chapter is divided into three sections: the first section provides a description of the theoretical framework; the second section is an overview of the research methods adopted; and the third section introduces the caregiving kin and their familial circumstances. While the third section veers away from conventional academic norms, it does enable the participants' lives and experiences to be foregrounded, to act as a point of reference, a reminder of the realities that they were negotiating.
This chapter assesses interactions with individuals and agencies external to the caregivers' own social and family networks. Research has shown that families and children experience stigma through their association with a prisoner. Relatedly, the narratives of the caregiving kin bring sharply into focus the lived realities of the discrimination and isolation that accompanied their experience of maternal imprisonment. Anxieties about social acceptance, legal guardianship, and gaining appropriate support underpinned the caregivers' accounts while they negotiated the prison sentence and looked to the mother's future return to the family. The chapter has three main sections, exploring: challenges facing primary kin caregivers without legal guardianship for the children, and their experiences of identifying and securing statutory support; caregivers' experiences, perceptions, and management of familial stigma in media reports, their local community, online, and at the prison; and caregivers' expectations of the mother's release.
This chapter examines the power dynamics of child abuse through the sociological lens of ‘othering’. This chapter’s analysis is set in its historical context, tracing developments up to the present day. Parental indifference historically emerges as a key issue, reflecting a wider societal indifference to abandoned children. Media silence was the product of cultural collusion. There were ‘known-knowns’ but they were also unmentionables. Why? The answer lies in the cultural dynamics in which vulnerable groups are ‘othered’. It resulted in devastating consequences for socially deprived children. They were allowed to die with societal complicity during the 18th century. The 19th century witnessed their segregation in institutions, where children were brutalised and exploited, that offered no material change in their circumstances.